– originally developed as an app for tracking and booking cheap flights – has now
become synonymous with terms like fintech and “social commerce.”
Lalonde and Joost Ouwerkerk founded the company in 2007 and launched the app in
2015 – using the time in between to develop its massive dataset of flight
prices – but since the start of the pandemic, Hopper’s trajectory has
accelerated and spun out in new directions.
March 2021, the company unveiled Hopper Cloud, it’s B2B segment that sells its
infrastructure, agency content, fintech products and data science capabilities
to other companies. The launch aligned with the signing of Capital One as the first customer and the financial firm’s investment of $170
million in Series F funding – which it boosted in November with
an additional $96 million.
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customers include Booking Holdings’ online travel agency brand Agoda, announced
earlier this week, and Nequi, a digital banking platform based in Colombia, announced in November. Hopper says Hopper Cloud now accounts for more than 40% of its total
in the last year Hopper has built deep gamification experiences in its app and
shifted its marketing spending from social media channels like Facebook and TikTok
directly to consumers in the form of rewards and incentives.
a conversation on Center Stage at The Phocuswright Conference, Lalonde explains
why he believes this type of “social commerce” is what will help Hopper – now on
track to sell $4.5 billion in travel and travel fintech this year – to grow
even bigger than companies such as Expedia and Booking.com.
calls Hopper’s lack of profitability its biggest weakness but explains why
current priorities include investing to build its direct hotel supply, rental
homes inventory and international expansion – predicting 50% of the app’s business
will come from outside North America within two years.
Lalonde also touches on sustainability – with a call to action for other travel
companies – and expresses regret that Hopper took “too long to become a customer-obsessed
don’t matter, your investors don’t matter, your company doesn’t matter. What
your customer needs or wants, whether they know it or not, is the only truth
that matters,” he says.
the full discussion below.
Hopper Executive Interview: The Next Big Thing - The Phocuswright Conference 2022